For Wesco 3A South team capsules, click here.
The predicted order of finish as voted on by the league’s coaches. Included are total points, with first-place votes inparentheses.
1. Snohomish (5) — 35
2. Meadowdale (1) — 31
3. Edmonds-Woodway (1) — 30
4. Everett — 25
5. Lynnwood — 13
6. Shorecrest — 12
7. Mountlake Terrace — 8
NOTES: Coaches weren’t allowed to vote for their own teams. One coach chose not to participate in the voting. Shorewood’s coach participated despite his team playing an independent schedule this season.
Snohomish. The Panthers have experienced a resurgence under fifth-year head coach Kai Smalley, who guided Snohomish last season to its first winning campaign since 2008. The Panthers came within a few plays of winning the conference title, with their two league losses coming by a combined six points. Snohomish lost the star duo of quarterback Brandon Jodock and receiver Josh Johnston from last season’s high-powered offense, which averaged a league-best 45.4 points per game. But returning is standout senior running back Keegan Stich, who led the area in rushing last year with 2,095 yards and 29 touchdowns.
Meadowdale and Edmonds-Woodway. Coming off a dramatic postseason run that resulted in the program’s first-ever state-semifinal appearance, Meadowdale is tasked with replacing a bevy of offensive starpower after losing quarterback Drew Tingstad, running back Kela Marshall, receiver Haelin Roberts and pass-catching tight end Zach Plummer. Speedy senior running back Jashon Butler, who rushed for 756 yards in nine games last season, takes over as the featured back for a Mavericks squad that’s looking to build on last year’s historic campaign. Edmonds-Woodway loses standout defensive lineman Ali Gaye, who is now a member of the University of Washington football program. But with four all-conference players returning from a stifling Warriors defense that allowed just 14 points per game — more than seven points better than the conference’s next-best defense — expect Edmonds-Woodway to contend with Snohomish and Meadowdale for the league crown.
STORYLINES TO WATCH
Seagulls look to keep climbing
Prior to Doug Trainor taking over as head coach in 2015, Everett had suffered through three consecutive one-win seasons. Since then, the Seagulls have mounted back-to-back 5-5 campaigns. Everett took a pair of state-playoff teams to overtime last year in losses to eventual state semifinalist Meadowdale and state qualifier Lynnwood. The Seagulls return 6-foot-4 senior receiver Elijah Ross-Rutter, who had 812 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns last fall. As the program aims to continue making strides, Everett’s defense will look to cut down on the 33.5 points per game it surrendered last season.
Can Royals overcome significant losses?
Fourth-year coach Keauntea Bankhead has engineered an impressive turnaround at Lynnwood since taking over a program that won 15 games combined in the 15 seasons prior to his arrival. The Royals continued their rise last year, earning their first state-playoff berth since 1995. But Lynnwood faces a major challenge this fall, as all six of its all-conference players from last season have graduated — including several two-way standouts. New stars need to emerge for the Royals to avoid taking a step back.
Contrasting strengths in league-title race
Snohomish and Meadowdale relied on their high-powered offenses last year, while Edmonds-Woodway leaned on its stingy defense. With each of the three teams coming off strong seasons and entering this fall as the Wesco 3A South favorites, the battle for the league title should offer intrigue for offensive and defensive fans alike.